Carter of Mars - Illustration (WIP)

polycounter lvl 12
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Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
Oook. Since the people at CGHub don't add much to my work in progress ideas, wanna share here in PCount...maybe there's fellow with interest in this work and may add some critique or comments, helping me to improve my stuff as usual...

The idea is to create a Book Cover/Illustration, with the re-design of the famous fantasy character John Carter. Easy task, but unfortunately, just now I discovered that Burrough history . It's a shame for a aspire Concept Artist. :-(

Just to pick the context. I tried to read the first two chapters of the first book and make a quick image search to see how iconic the character is...for my surprise, is one of the most famous Frazetta themes. After that, I prefer to leave the reference stuff, and try to create my ideas...even if it's an already made design.

Anyway. That's the ideas for the composition of the illustration:


Do you guys dig the ideas? In mostly I've tried to keep the action in the first momments of Carter in Mars. A stranger who discovered the Enclosures (alien eggs) or when he's already fighting with Tars Tarkas.


Above, some ideas for John Carter itself. I do prefer the possibility of a nomad character, stranger in Mars territory, etc. But I played with more "amored" ones. My choice at moment is something like 6 or 7.

That's it. Hope you guys like it and add some points. Really searching hard-critiques here.


  • tbaugher
    Hmmm...for the composition I like 2, 4 and 8. This is interesting. I can't wait to see what you come up with.
  • Illusive
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    Illusive polycounter lvl 7
    2, 7 and 8 for the composite i reckons
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Hey. Thanks for the tips.
    Yeah, glad you both like 2 as well, because that's probably the one's I would work - just because of the Thoat mount. : )
  • peppi
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    peppi polycounter lvl 12
    I don't know the character so I can't say much on those design ideas, but since this is going to be a cover you should have placeholders for the title and any additional text in those layout sketches. One can kind of see where text might go in each of those pieces but it's worth being more specific about that from the start. I very much like 1 for its non-action oriented touch and 9 for its use of negative space.
  • achillesian
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    NAIMA polycounter lvl 7
    I always loved this saga ...

    As for the type styles I like the 4 and some parts of the 6 may be you could mix them up ?

    I 'd say :

    pants form the 1
    armors from the 4th
    armbands from the 7th
    spear from the 5th
    belt from teh 2nd
  • cadyw
    beautifully drawn, but a little cliche. I do like #5.
  • Joseph Silverman
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    Joseph Silverman polycounter lvl 11
    Its all about 2 and 4, man.
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Oh nice, some good replies here in PCount...Thank you very much dudes.

    So. Here's my approach to the Linework of this drawing. During this stage I use your considerations to guide me, like Peppi's warning about the sizes and use the number 2 thumbnail for the composition (nicely that's the one I like most too).


    As you can see I had changed my mind twice (left scraps). Since it's a cover, but still need to present a new look for the character, I couldn't make it showing his backs, like the original idea. The discarded versions has some little problems that bug me out (one has a weak gesture, the other one has "d!cks" everywhere....).

    The approach for the idea I came was to make something more classical, playing with the circles in the composition, making the eye travel in the image that way. Doing that I change the focus of the illustration from action/scene-based to design/ornament-based. Maybe I need more practice to mix these two aspects seamlessly.

    That's it. Sorry for the long talk, but this kind of though can be helpful to someone, someday...

    Hope you guys still enjoying it.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 13
    Hm. The current pose, while it's not bad as such could be more interesting. I think the holding onto the reins felt a bit more a more dynamic pose. What if rather than simply posed on his mount, he was charging it towards the city, the shot being just as he's pulling on the reins to wheel the creature around in the right direction. You might need to tweak the angle a little to get a really nice composition but I think it could work.

    You could always build up the saddle to help things compositionally.
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12
    Here's my final version of this tricky one...lot's of changes and learning. Thanks to all the points here.


    And here's a version that is much more in my "comfort zone": lines and flat shadings. My choice in making the final one full-rendered was just to push harder to myself.


    @Jackablade: indeed this version totally lacks of action compared to the other one. Based on that though, I change the composition again, putting the mount in profile too - pushing all the characters to a more "design" type. Not a perfect solution, but it's work better.
    I really like to keep using this theme for a future drawing, this time, exploring a more action scene between Carter and Barsoom creatures (like the WhiteApes things)...let's see.

    Anyway. Thanks for emotional and technical support guys.
  • System
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    System admin
    Beautiful work :D Is the lettering supposed to be hitting the top of the beasts head like that?
  • Dado Almeida
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    Dado Almeida polycounter lvl 12 doesnt hurt to change. Thanks to point that GCMP.
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